Files

Abbey Street, Belfast, 1912.jpg
Indoor relief register for belfast workhouse, 1914.jpg
Buildings at the Belfast Union Workhouse, 1898.jpg

Welfare

Dublin Core

Title

Welfare

Subject

Poverty and public health in Belfast, 1888-1914

Description

Destitution was a harsh reality for many of Belfast’s inhabitants and, for those who could no longer support themselves, Belfast Union workhouse on the Lisburn Road was often the last resort. Workhouses had been introduced in Ireland under the Irish Poor Law Act of 1838 as the first form of statutory welfare and conditions were deliberately harsh in order to deter people from seeking poor relief. Paupers were expected to work for long hours each day and were given the bare minimum to eat.

Belfast’s rapid growth put the workhouse under tremendous strain. In 1870 just under 15,000 people were admitted to the workhouse. By 1888 this had risen to 18,995 and in 1913 over 29,000 people were admitted. Workhouse registers and census returns for 1901 and 1911 provide details of those who were in the workhouse, including children, the elderly, the sick and others in need of relief.

By the early twentieth century the Poor Law had developed into a sophisticated local government system operating the workhouse and providing hospital care and various public health initiatives such as vaccination schemes, local burial boards, and local dispensaries, as well as a ‘Union School’ for the children of paupers.

Source

Photograph of Abbey Street, Belfast, 1912, by Alexander Hogg. [PRONI LA/7/8/HF/3]
Extract from the Indoor Relief register for Belfast Workhouse, 1914. [PRONI BG/7/G/107]
Photograph of buildings at the Belfast Union Workhouse, 1898. [PRONI D2194/23/3]

Date

1898-01-01
1914-01-01

Rights

Reproduction of these materials in any format for any purpose other than personal research and study may constitute a violation of CDPA 1988 and infringement of rights associated with the materials. Queen’s University Belfast does not own copyright in this material. Please contact us for permissions information at specialcollections@qub.ac.uk

Format

jpeg

Language

English

Type

Reproduction of these materials in any format for any purpose other than personal research and study may constitute a violation of CDPA 1988 and infringement of rights associated with the materials. Queen’s University Belfast does not own copyright in this material. Please contact us for permissions information at specialcollections@qub.ac.uk

Still Image Item Type Metadata

Original Format

Photo, paper

Citation

“Welfare,” Special Collections & Archives, Queen's University Belfast, accessed November 25, 2017, http://omeka.qub.ac.uk/items/show/146.

Geolocation